How a small wearable device is improving care and saving money for hospitals


The push to provide minute-by-minute patient monitoring may seem excessive at first hearing, but the impact both on patient management and patient outcomes can be significant.

In a typical hospital, patients are checked about every 4-8 hours. In an acute care situation it may be more frequent, but the truth is that nurses aren’t always available to give patients the attention they need — and sometimes these patients can become quite ill as a result.

Zephyr Anywhere’s BioPatch — a small, unobtrusive, bandaid-like piece of sophisticated electronics — is attached to a patient’s chest to collect all vital signs and transmit them to a nurses’ station for general ward monitoring. This is not the kind of data collected by consumer fitness wearables. We’re talking about medical-grade data from an FDA-approved device.

The BioPatch is used in combination with its software platform (ZephrLife), which uses a color-coded alarm system to notify nurses which patients are in acute need. The platform can also notify nurses directly via a cellular device. Hospitals can set their own standards and levels of alerts, allowing them to prioritize patients with far more efficiency.

Besides the obvious benefit of 24-hour monitoring, the patient’s hospital experience is also greatly enhanced. Without wired monitoring equipment, patients can be more mobile. They also don’t need to be woken up regularly for vital-sign checks, day or night.

The BioPatch can make the trip home with patients. By continuing to monitor patients with serious medical conditions after discharge (and transmitting data back to care teams via smartphones), the system can identify patients who are at risk for readmission, then enable care teams to intervene before it gets that far. It’s a win-win for patient and provider. For the patient it prevents the stress of returning to the hospital. And reducing unnecessary hospital admissions saves the systems lots of money.

Brian Russell, Zephyr Anywhere’s CEO, is just one of the many health tech leaders speaking at HealthBeat October 27 – 28. He’ll be joined by Lisa Suennen, Managing Partner at Venture Valkyrie and Stacy Enxing Seng, President of Covidien Vascular Therapies to talk about the merging of traditional med tech with the digital health world.

Check out the full agenda for Healthbeat here, and register to save your spot.